contrabordun wrote:The rest seem to have some very ill-informed ideas about what the SSG is and does, and maybe the Society's PR and communications is an issue? (To be attacked for what you do, for what you stand for, and for what you are responsible is one thing: to be attacked for what you don't and aren't is quite another!).
I've started a new thread because Dunstan and our 16' friend have summed up the previous one excellently and I think its helpful to move on.
The way in which SSG is apparently perceived in a particular constituency of the Church as being partly responsible for wrecking it musically has been very illuminating. The author of the blog himself, after a deal of generalisation, eventually concedes that our discussion forum is actually more open-minded than 'one might imagine'. Many of the contributors' criticisms were based on selective pickings from the website, often taken out of context to justify the argument. SSG has a very broad umbrella and no amount of PR could prevent this selectivity from giving a false impression. This is not to say that PR couldn't be better, because in all things there is room for improvement. (You should hear my organ playing )
My first encounter with SSG puts a different angle on the image issue:
I had vaguely known about the existence of SSG for years before joining, but I had the perception that SSG was a very traditionalist group who were solely interested in the restoration of plainsong. I don't know how I came to that conclusion, because I'm fairly sure I didn't have any evidence for it. I certainly hadn't bothered to investigate.
I saw an advertisment in the national Catholic press for the 2005 summer school, which included workshops for those leading the music in their parishes. As I was about to take on this responsibility it piqued my interest, but would not have done so had the summer school not been fairly local in Whitby- A week at the seaside after no holiday for 5 years!
A look on the website began to challenge my prejudices but I was still suspicious that SSG was far too conservative and narrow minded for my liking. However I mentioned it to a family friend, a priest from Westminster, who happened to be visiting. He told me he was a member and SSG was 'OK'.
Indeed it was OK, those present at the Summer school actually came from a very broad spectrum of the church. And were all tolerant of others' view point. But on my return from that summer school I mentioned it to a colleague who looks after the music in another church. He shuddered in horror and asked why I was involved with 'those right wing loonies'.
The image question is a complex one as neither view of the society is correct. SSG does not advocate plainsong exclusively, nor does it only consider music written since 1965 to be of value. I would venture that what SSG does well is avoid the trap that any particular form of liturgy, or style of music, is de facto superior to another.